Forty years later, taxpayers still are on the hook for the U.S. role in the Vietnam war, with Congress doling out more than $400 million in the last two and a half decades, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
And it may be more decades yet before the funding stops, according to the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan service for members of Congress.
CRS says the problem is all the unexploded ordnance that remains in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
“Over the past 25 years the United States has provided a total of over $400 million in assistance for UXO clearance and related activities in those three countries through the Department of Defense, Department of State, and United States Agency for International Development, as well as funding for treatment of victims through USAID and the Leahy War Victims fund,” the service reported this week.
“Many observers believe it may still take decades to clear the affected areas.”
The unexploded bombs, or UXO, that remain in the region raise a “number of issues, including appropriate levels of U.S. assistance for clearance activities and victim relief,” the report explained.
And significantly, what goes on there “carries lessons for similar activity in other parts of the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan,” the report found.
“Observers argue that U.S. efforts to address UXO issues in the region, along with joint efforts regarding other war legacy issues such as POW/MIA identification and Agent Orange/dioxin remediation, have been important steps in building relations with the affected countries in the post-war period,” the report continued. “These efforts … have proceeded furthest in Vietnam, where the bilateral relationship has expanded across a wide range of economic and security initiatives.”
Congress spent nearly $200 million in the 2019 appropriations program for the destruction of such weapons, including “de-mining” activities.
And the Legacies of War Recognition and Unexploded Ordnance Removal Act allows $50 million per year for humanitarian assistance.